Monday, November 15, 2010

In Tangible

Fall has always been such a sense-filled time of year for me.  There's the change in the air, the crunch of the leaves, the holiday cooking smells that begin to waft from the kitchen, the lessening daylight and cozy indoor evenings, and the smell of burning leaves or wood fires in the chill air when you step outside.  The season of fall is all about preparing, storing up, buckling down, and bundling up. Preparing for the holidays, storing up the season's bounty, buckling down to the work of the new school year, bundling up against the looming winter chill.

Slicing a squash in half and scooping out the goopy seeds with a spoon, I was struck by the tangibility of the season.  I soaked the seeds in some water, methodically loosening the squash "gunk," straining, rinsing, and separating the seeds, and dried them off.  They stuck wickedly to the towel, so I ended up having to brush the sticky-seeds off with my hand, and then off my hand into the pan.  I stirred them around in some oil, salt, and pepper, tasting my fingers to make sure the spice was correct, and put them in the oven [275, till crispy].  I love the smell of roasting seeds.  Roasting anything, really--chicken, apples, tomatoes, beets.  All that flavor sealed in to burst at the right moment in my mouth. Perfection. So Fall.

Of course, other seasons are tangible, too. In fact, everything has that sense-full aspect to it.  Padding softly through falling snow, wrapping mitten'd hands around a mug of hot cider; or feeling the first warmish sunshine of early spring on your face, smelling the green things popping up through the ground; even something as unpleasant as sweat dripping down the middle of your back as you walk to work on a hot summer morning brings us sharply into the awareness of our physicality. Our own tangibility.

What a joy to be touch-able, to feel things and see them and smell them and hear them.  To come to know things through the real experience of them, making the idea of them palpable. Memories stirred up from childhood of mounds of crispy roasted pumpkin seeds, freshly salted, recalled themselves to my mind slicing open that squash, peering inside at the promise of spring.  Slowly and steadily, as I washed and seasoned and baked the seeds, the memory and anticipation of Delicious approached until the warm seeds where in my hand, popped into my mouth, and crunched down into reality in a burst of salty-roasted Goodness.  What a beautiful gift our senses are.

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